You’ll be over the moon for the start of the weekend as Saturday, September 26th, is International Observe the Moon Night.
NASA Scientist Kelsey Young says this weekend is the best time to check out our lunar landscape.
“Well it’s a first quarter phase Moon, which means that half of the Moon is in light and half of the Moon is in dark. And at that line between light and dark, it casts really long shadows over the topography of the Moon that we’re really interested in observing.”
We may only have one Moon, but there is plenty to observe.
“Well when you look up at the Moon at night you see two main colors, kind of light and dark. The dark pouches are actually called Mare-they’re lava oceans. They look a lot like some lava flows we have here on Earth. The round features you can see are actually impact craters. Which we have a couple hundred of here on Earth as well. You can also, this is a little harder to pick out with the naked eye, but you can also see the landing sites from the Apollo program,” says Young.
The Apollo program taught us a great deal about the Moon, and we are still using their samples today to learn more about the Moon. Young is excited for the past discoveries and looks forward to the Artemis program in 2024.
Another exciting note-the Artemis program will send the first woman and next man to the Moon!
The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) was launched in 2009, and it continues to orbit the Moon and teach us about our nearby neighbor.
“We’re learning that the Moon is actually a much more dynamic place than we thought. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter taught us that the coldest place in the solar system is not on one of the outer planets, it’s not out on Pluto, it’s actually on the north pole of the Moon. We’re learning that there’s so much about the Moon that we didn’t know, and LRO is teaching us that.”
And in this time of being apart, Young says we can all come together under the stars.
“There’s just a wealth of ways to engage, and it’s just a really exciting time as we’re all physically separated to connect because everybody is seeing the same Moon.”
If you get a great shot of the Moon, you can share your observations with the hashtag #ObserveTheMoon. You can also check out NASA TV from 5:30PM to 11:30PM Eastern on Saturday.
So head outside with your neighbors and enjoy our neighbor in the sky.